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Sue and Settle: Regulating Behind Closed Doors
What is Sue and Settle?
"Sue and Settle" refers to when a federal agency agrees to a settlement agreement, in a lawsuit from special interest groups, to create priorities and rules outside of the normal rulemaking process. The agency intentionally relinquishes statutory discretion by committing to timelines and priorities that often realign agency duties. These settlement agreements are negotiated behind closed doors with no participation from the public or affected parties.
As an example, between 2009 and 2012, EPA chose not to defend itself in over 60 lawsuits from special interest advocacy groups. These cases resulted in settlement agreements and EPA publishing more than 100 new regulations - including the recent Clean Power Plan.
Recent Notices of Intent to Sue on EPA's Website
|12/22/2016||CAA, Sierra Club and Environmental Integrity Project
Failure to grant or deny a petition to object to a proposed Title V Operating Permit for Wheelabrator Frackville Energy, Inc. power plant in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
|12/7/2016||MPRSA, New York Department of State, New York Department of Environmental Conservation
NOI regarding EPA designation of Eastern Long Island Sounds dredged material disposal site.
|11/23/2016||CAA, Environmental Integrity Project, Sierra Club, and Air Alliance Houston
For Failure to Timely Grant or Deny a Petition to Object to Part 70 Operating Permit No. 01553 Issued to the ExxonMobil Corporation for the Baytown Olefins Plant in Harris County, Texas.
|11/4/2016||CAA, Center for Biological Diversity; Center for Environmental Health
For failure to perform a mandatory duty with regard to PM2.5 to protect the North Coast Air Quality Management District in California
For a full list of EPA's Notices of Intent to Sue, visit http://www.epa.gov/ogc/noi.html.
What is New in Sue and Settle?
- 12/29: Fox News | US considers mining limits to save sage grouse
- 12/23: Idaho Mountain Express | Groups to sue over coyote poisons
- 12/21: E&E Publishing | Utilities' ash storage plans draw criticism, lawsuits (subscription required)
- 12/21: News Chief | 4 environmental groups plan to sue U.S. agencies to stop phosphate mining expansion
- 12/20: The Blade | Coalition intends to sue EPA over Lake Erie
- 12/15: ABC-7 | Environmental groups sue FDA over hair straightening treatment
- 12/9: The Bozeman Daily Chronicle | Montana congressmen seek to undo court’s halt on logging projects over Canada lynx
- 12/8: The National Law Review | EPA Releases CERCLA 108(b) Proposed Rule for Hardrock Mining and Schedule for Decisions On Other Industries
- 12/8: St. Louis Public Radio | EPA to propose nutrient pollution rules next year to settle lawsuit
- 12/7: The Hill | Dems demand red wolf protections
- 12/7: KGWN | Environmental groups seek to defend federal methane rule
- 12/5: E&E Publishing | Greens sue EPA over exceptions in ozone rule (subscription required)
See all -- Sue and Settle News Archive
What are the Economic Implications of our Findings?
Interactive List of All Sue & Settle Cases
Also see this alternate table, which lists court cases resolved by agency action in response to legal challenges.